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mountain notes

Working on my writing today, I had a moment of joy after transcribing & then randomising my mountain record journal, and seeing what came from that.

Some strange (very strange) and heart-catching beauty has been revealed, and I feel like I can do something wonderful with bits of it, (ie. combining parts of the text with my drawings or prints, as part of my book of the mountain).

Here are three examples:

   Golden light, ravens, later 
   Surpassing beautiful. Sky 
   
   in flocks, closing the day low 
   
   Such cold. Such 
   water, black peat opened 
   
   All quiet and softened 
   on its shoulders. Colours 
   high blue clear.  

Or

   Sea breeze. 
   East. Northwind cold like a knife 
   Stillness. A raven lifting up 
   moon through haze. Quiet and 
     
   on the other side. 
   but it must be the clouds 
   Darkening. 
   lit as we leave.  

Or

   glooming. 
   Storm coming tonight. 
     
   yellow to blue above. 
     
   south of west, north of 
   West. All dampness. Colours 
   out the voices of the others. 
   
   and gorse, greens and reds bruised 
   glow up as the light dims. 
   Paying respect to this, the 
   beauty. What does it mean? 
     
   High cloud, brittle ice, 
   Sun setting yellow 
     
   in us. 

Categories
sounds video

a video fragment

A short video to share today.

Categories
light photography

inside low cloud, dusk

Rain and low cloud this evening on the mountain – good conditions for observing (and trying to photograph) the moment when things become indeterminate and disappear. Inside cloud, up high near the top, wind blowing and shoving, light rain now on now off, water pooling all around my feet, and feeling myself to be standing at the centre of a circle of invisibility.

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art photography

photo experiments, more small steps

continuing my experiments with photos today, this time with gold leaf

for the first, i painted on the glue / size in the shape of an arch

for the second, i poured it on with water and let it dry on the radiator

small steps

Categories
light photography

unscientific observatory

I’ve brought my mountain notebook in from the pocket of the car door, trying to make sense of the evening visits I’ve been making, maybe trying to find a pattern. I’m going to sort through, put the entries next to the photos and videos that I’ve made, see if anything starts to emerge.

On Wednesday evening I videoed a grimy sunset. It lasted longer than I expected. I balanced my phone on top of a stone at the centre of the bronze age burial circle close to the trig point, and which seemed to face into the sunset. All around me was sky and air and Westerly wind, too much of it that evening. I cowered behind the stone and forced myself to watch the sun slip right down to nothing, and meanwhile the wind numbed my exposed fingers to the bones.

I wrote quite a bit in my notebook back in the car, including that I saw

“clouds pillowing and piled up high, salmon and gold, south leaning. Distances disappearing out to smeary grey. Dirty sun set over the sea, slipping into fog.”

This evening it was warmer, soft rain came after the sunset. I wrote in my notebook

“The sea a shell bright line, pink and soft. Light filling the hollows of the land… Afterwards a soft rain, not cold. Two ravens on the wires.”

I went to the same stone circle, this time with a compass app installed on my phone (it didn’t seem very convincing). I found that the central stone, and also a large single standing stone further down are both aligned roughly the same, one ‘facing’ and one ‘pointing’ towards Caldey Island, just South of West.

(Or the first stone could be facing North of East, but the second stone is far below the brow of the hill, and in a shallow West-facing valley; so if its facing anywhere, it can only be to the South West).

I’d like to guess that the two stones are aligned the same, and for a reason, possibly to point to Caldey, or maybe to align with the direction of the sunset at the winter solstice, which I think might be that way. But I’ll have to get a better compass and consult with an astronomer, or otherwise wait at least eleven months to check, since I did not do it this year. I can at least say that there was no sunset this year at the solstice, only grey misty cloud and according to my mountain notebook:

“grey-white noise, indistinctness. All quiet and softened in, retreating.”

Categories
art drawing

sky drawing

I have been thinking that I’ll draw the sky. Somehow. Or maybe not draw, but at least work with. Start from a feeling of immersion. My main problem : that drawing immersion in sky is a crazy and difficult job, and I don’t know how.

I made an earth drawing instead today – from a video of the mountain. I’d taken the video last night on the way home, just after what would have been sunset, but since it was a cloudy and gloomy evening there was no colour, little light. The drawing needs more work – for me to approach closer to the feeling of last night, and to the evidence of the video. I need to make it fuzzier, less distinct; have less contrast, less interest, less resemblance.

The video is strange and obscure, technically dreadful. I think that what interests me so much about it is just that, its poor quality. I’ve found the outside boundary of the technology, and then crossed over it. The light levels have gone down beyond my camera’s processing capacity – it’s having a breakdown, it can’t find this in its programming, its changing its mind every half a second – what is air and what is objects, what is the appropriate focal distance, what is the space of the mountain? Things recede and return, in and out of focus, all is flattened and fuzzy. Our eyes break down at that light level too, we can’t trust what we see. But we’re better adapted than our phones – we still perceive and still keep some clarity; still retain something of three-dimensionality, the volume of the space, enough to navigate through it.

To return to my idea of drawing immersion in sky, my drawing is a drawing of a place that, because of its shape, is basically all round sky. So I think I can call it an atomosphere drawing, if not a sky drawing.

Categories
light photography

three good things that I am grateful for

Grateful for the road over the mountain
Grateful for the sky, and for today’s crescent moon and cutting wind
Grateful for my warm green felt hat

Categories
art light

a sketch

A sketch in film format that I made on the mountain at nightfall with a half moon rising. Its a film that is taking a scroll form. I’ve had an important realisation about what I am doing here – that I am really a book artist. I will write more about this later this week, clarify and deepen.